Most parents of autistic children suspect a cognitive disorder by the age of 18 months and seek professional support by the age of two.
People with ASD have the same biological functioning of others, but often lack the maturity and social skills to interact responsibly with a partner.
The Arc, a national organization of and for the intellectually disabled people, asserts these people have a right not only to engage in sexual relationships, but also to marry and have children, If they have children they also have a right, to receive assistance raising them. The site is maintained by students from the University of California, Santa Barbara who have studied advanced topics in human sexuality. Keeping a pet at home help autistic children to improve their communication skills, a new study says. According to Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), autism starts normally by the age of three and stays throughout one's life.
This is the first of its kind study that found strong scientific evidence to prove the animals' role in helping children affected with autism in overcoming their communication problems. Researchers based their study on earlier findings that showed pets influencing children and improving their communication skills. To examine the possibility of such an influence of animals on children affected with autism, a team of French researchers selected three different set ups- kids never having a pet, having a pet since birth or starting to keep a pet after age five . Investigators were focussing on the time when the disorder normally reaches its peak - i.e. The key factor helping in the occurrence may be pets serving as "distracters," or teaching the child to better understand communication signals and cues, Health Day reported. This webpage will use the term 'Loss' rather than 'Death' and not, as you may think, because loss is a 'nicer' term to use.
We are all human and it is the human condition to want to shield the 'vulnerable' from sadness, grief and things that are unpleasant.
If a collection is made of items from the natural world which were once living such as fruits, leaves, shells, branches, vegetables and flowers, etc.
A Life Story Book (LSB) is a record (a form of Memory Book) of a person's (or pet's) life that is accessible to an individual with learning difficulties. There are times when people die very quickly but there equally times when people have a period of illness prior to their death.
Telling the individual experiencing Learning Difficulties about a death can be a difficult thing to do. It is quite natural for an individual to be concerned about what will happen to them when a parent or carer dies? The emoticons above, designed to allow someone to communicate just how they are feeling are also available, free of charge, as a Word document (other formats are available too) on request.
It seems sometimes that political correctness is taken too far and that, in a laudable effort to protect individuals from abuse (and staff from accusations of abuse) we also 'shield' them from any close physical contact. If you know of an additional source of information on this topic; a book or an article or other, please let Talksense know so that we may add it to this list. The exact causes of autism are unknown, but irregularities in the brain structures such as the corpus callosum (facilitates communication between the two hemispheres of the brain), amygdala (affects emotion and social behavior), and cerebellum (involved with motor activity, balance, and coordination) have a significant association to the abnormalities and neurological problems associated with this disease. At this age, symptoms of communication impairment may vary from moderate to severe and can include: inability to start or maintain conversation, communication with repeated gestures rather than words, avoidance of eye contact, withdrawn nature, lack of empathy, and inability to make friends. Many desire long-term relationships, intimacy, and sexual contact but are often rejected, which affects his or her self-esteem and wellbeing.
It is important that families, schools and service providers treat the issues of puberty, sexuality and relationships with the upmost respect and sensitivity, as these attitudes can have a profound lifelong effect on sexuality. This new mood may have positive effects on individuals with autism," Marine Grandgeorge of the Hospital Research Center of Brest in France, told Health Day. It is because the page is about loss and death is just one form of loss that a person may experience.
While we understand that the creature involved has died and what that entails, the individual may not.
However, it is better that it is done than the individual hears about it from someone else who will not inform them with kindness. It is natural for families, carers and professionals alike  to want to shield them from topics that they believe might be upsetting or worrying.
The belief that life does not end with death but continues in another form can help us to cope. For example, when a parent dies, a son or daughter may no longer be considered able to continue living in the family home and may be moved into residential care. If they cannot express such feelings and concerns it must be terribly frightening and worrying.
That is, they are not contained in the list of those words that we use the most frequently.
They are also available as separate switch caps for use either on jelly bean type of switches or on BIGreds or BIGmacks. Using hand under hand techniques to facilitate communication, for example, is not necessarily abuse providing that the facilitator is guiding the hand to create a message that is not of the individual's choosing or intent and has informed the individual of the nature of the interaction and has concent. It is believed that these abnormalities occur during pre-natal development and that the imbalances in chemicals called neurotransmitters affect emotion, behavior, and brain activity. Meanwhile, those who are in long term relationships with an autistic partner often report either infrequent sexual activity due to communication or physical difficulties, or an overactive sex drive due to heighted sensory feelings during stimulation. Young people with autism must learn that it is okay to be attracted to someone of the same sex, as orientation may be either fascinating or a very obscure concept. The child's behavior and development are some of the factors doctors use to determine the disorder. Results showed participants who received a pet after their birth showing improvement in two areas of communication- "offering to share" and "offering comfort" than possessing a pet since birth. All these times and others like them are opportunities to introduce the concept of death and dying in a distal fashion. Any of these events present an opportunity to discuss the issues surrounding death with an individual without too great an emotional reaction.Distal pet deaths are easier to talk about than proximal. The Learners can be encouraged to explore such items using their active senses: to see, feel, hear, taste (such things as fruits) and smell.
It should not be assumed that not telling them is better because the individual is likely to notice that a loved person is missing and we cannot know how they will 'understand' this.
Where possible, and as detailed above, one change should not lead to a cascade of changes with which the individual has suddenly to cope. There is a tendency to believe that, following a death, a page (or pages) or vocabulary should be prepared with which the individual can discuss his or her feeling and aspects of the situation. If you would like any of these things, please state the size and please use the form at the bottom of the page. This may account for autistic behaviors like difficulties in pretend play, social interactions, and verbal and nonverbal communication.
However, autistic teens may have more difficulty than other teens in initiating appropriate contact.
Because of the circumstances, the intellectually disabled are commonly dissuaded from sexual activity or are misinformed about sexual education.
The intellectually disabled may ask a lot of questions regarding their sexuality, so it is essential that these individuals have the means to acquire information about safe and informed sexual choices. The individual needs to come to understand that all life ceases when death occurs and that the dead creature does not come back to life and the process is a one way affair. Staff can ask prompting questions such as, "Is this item alive?", "Was it alive?", "What did it look like when it was alive?", "How do we know that it is no longer alive?". When we become sick we generally believe that we are going to get well and return to our normal life. It needs to be done considerately such that the individual is not left worrying about the loss of friends or relations or  concerned about what may happen following such a event.
However, if the person who has died was a sole primary carer and there is no other family member to take their place then there will be a need to provide alternative care. However, such vocabulary and such pages will, by definition, be new and therefore the symbols and language involved will be unfamiliar and require tuition.


There will be some who think that there are obvious words missing and some who think that it is too complex. Simply because we belong to one culture, it should not be assumed that an individual has to grieve in this way.
The emotional lives of people with learning disability, British Journal of Learning Disabilities, volume 31, pp.
The number of children with autism is unclear, but the Center for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 1 in 68 children have been identified with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and that this statistic is on the rise. Young people with ASD may become sexually active with others at an age later than that of peers and may take longer to find a partner.
People with autism have the right to form relationships and have sexual experience if they are capable of doing so. They need to have  ability to ask questions in a comfortable environment where they can be answered honestly.
However, plastic pockets can easily be sourced which can both display and hold items which may need to be removed from time to time.An LSB contains materials that are relevant to the individual and therefore will differ considerably from person to person.
It is important that there is one or more people to whom the individual can return to ask any questions at any point. However, it should not be assumed that, just because individuals have attended church regularly with their family, they understand such concepts.
It is hardly surprising, therefore, when an individual reacts badly to such events, indeed, it would be more surprising if they didn't! It may be that social services can support the individual to continue to live in the family home; it may also be that the individual will need to move into residential care. The board is not supposed to be THE solution but, rather, an idea to promote thought about how such a system could be set up to assist an individual in your care.
Obvious signs of longing to engage sexually active arise when people with autism start noticing the bodies and physical features of others and begin engaging in masturbation. They also have the right to regulate their own birth control, and be protected from automatic sterilization. If we feel such emotions then imagine, therefore, how much more problematic it must be for those individuals who are experiencing some form of learning difficulty.
The way in which we learn to cope with it may be different for each person but cope we must 'life goes on'.
We cannot eat a piece of meat without it meaning the death of a living creature, we cannot wear an item of leather or sit on leather furniture without something having to die to make this provision for us. While jokes and humour might seem a good way of resolving a difficult issue they are generally not helpful and will not help the individual to cope with their own losses when they arise. However, in some rare instances, people know in advance that there is a strong probability that they will not survive.
It is good practice to follow the distal to proximal principle in this matter such that the individual is not grieving at the time such issues are discuss and explained. Furthermore, the use of such language as 'He has gone to see God' or 'She is with God now' or 'He has gone to Heaven to be with Jesus' are all phrases with are open to the wrong interpretation by the individual. While families may believe that they will outlive the individual and therefore they will always be there to care, this is not necessarily the case. It may be that such vocabulary is already contained in the individual's existing communication system. It is important that the intellectually impaired receive adequate education and resources to be able to undertake this part of life safely, legally, and in an appropriate manner. Having some understanding of what has happened, knowing what to do, to whom to turn, and to whom we can talk is very important. We do not normally think in these ways about such things as it is uncomfortable but, nevertheless, it is a fact.
In such instances, if the person feels capable, it might be of great help to the individual if the person can talk about it and say what they think might happen to them after they have died.
Ensure that the individual understands that 'going to be with God'  or being 'in Heaven' means that the person will not be coming back and they cannot be contacted by phone or by letter or e-mail. Whenever possible, everything should be done to maintain all other things within a person's life such that one loss does not lead to another.
Many people experiencing learning difficulties will lead a long life and will outlive their parents.
However, those with more severe mental impairment also have the right to be protected from sexual exploitation if the person lacks the capacity to give informed consent. Furthermore, there are books (even for children) in which one of the main characters dies (For example, Charlotte's Web by E.B. If they have strong beliefs they might explain about going to Heaven and being with Jesus and how happy they will be. What words are missing? - Is it set out in such a manner that makes it easy for the individual to access?- What symbols should be used?- Where is the board to be kept? No one can give consent on behalf of the disabled, thus, if a person is judged by a psychiatrist or parent to be incapable of giving consent, it is the caregiver’s responsibility to protect the person from sexual contact, which could be deemed sexual assault or statutory rape. A lack of ability to communicate about such understandings and emotions only compounds the issue. White and I'll always love you by Hans Wilhelm) which could also be used  as an opportunity to discuss the topic of loss.
When one of the fish dies, the issue should not be hidden but made public such that it is a topic for discussion in situ.
However, they should also make it clear that when death comes they will not be able to come back and see them and, that they are not going away because the individual has done something wrong or because they have stopped caring about them. Also, ensure that the individual understands that God does not 'call' people to his kingdom randomly and, therefore he will not be taking away other loved people for quite some time.
To assume that a person's cognitive level will shield them from all emotions is, therefore, incorrect. Individuals experiencing learning difficulties (at all levels) will also feel loss; to be human is to feel loss.
In such situations everyone will feel the loss and all can be supportive of each other.The death of a loved pet can be a very traumatic time and, as such, is not a distal event but one that, for the individual, is proximal.
Let the individual know that you understand the experience is very sad and painful for them.- Always begin by preparing the individual for the bad news. It provides some peace of mind for all concerned and also better prepares the individual for change should anything happen.
Can we teach the individual about the vocabulary?- Will we need additional boards for specific events such as a funeral?- Are all significant others prepared to work with the individual with the board? If someone choose to take their grief out on an entire population by committing genocide for example, the overwhelming majority of us would consider that to be wrong. Anyone in a conscious state can feel emotions unless there is significant damage to those areas of the brain in which such feelings are experienced. It is for all significant others to do what they can to help the individual understand and cope with their loss with empathy and sensitivity. It is important to ensure that the individual understands that although everything living has to die, death normally comes at the end of a long life and that loved ones are not suddenly going to be taken away.If someone famous dies and it is announced in the media. Ensuring that an individual is gradually prepared for such changes (if they need to happen) over a period of time is good practice.
If an individual chooses a pathway which is potentially harmful then, unless you are an expert in such matters, it is best to seek advice from a professional with lots of experience on the matter. This presents an opportunity to talk about the concept of death and what death means to us.
Being prepared for and visits during can allay feelings of loss within any period of absence by any significant other. In doing so, one belief should not be stressed above another, even if you are a really committed Christian, for example.
The individual's concerns can be addressed as they arise and everyone involved can be assured by the process. It need not be a real person and, as such, even more distal is the death of someone fictitious in a soap opera or a story for example.


It is easy for an individual to confuse matters if they are 'protected' from seeing and told half truths (or complete fabrications) or euphemisms are used in place of straight (but considerate) talk. For example, people will remember their own phone number or those of friends and relations they call frequently but forget the numbers of people to whom they talk only on occasions (which is why we have telephone books and such).
What is the alternative?You will notice that the majority of the words on the board depicted are commonly used and, as such, should be contained in any communication system.
We know how hard it is to cope with one loss, imagine how much harder then is it to cope with compound losses when you have a learning difficulty. If you are asked what you believe, then you should state your beliefs and explain why you believe them. Thus, if we can talk about topics using a smaller but frequently used vocabulary set it will be easier to learn and quicker to use. While the death of someone famous who the individual does not really know may be distal, the death of someone from a favourite TV program may be proximal!
If there are varying options, explain each option and ask which the individual would prefer. However, the words 'at' and 'peace' as separate units would be used more generally and could be brought together when needed to form the example phrase. Be there for them and tell them that you are prepared to discuss the subject further, at any point, as they wish. So do we need to add words such as 'burial', 'crematorium', 'funeral', 'hearse', 'undertaker' etc to a communication system?
While we may believe that we talk about 'heaven' a lot, I would doubt that even committed Christians use the word daily in conversation: it may not even be used in conversation in church on a Sunday although it is likely to be sung in hymns and mentioned during prayers.
If you have such reference works on your shelf, take them down and look in the index for 'loss, or 'bereavement' or 'death', it is likely that such terms will not be found there. The ideas below are therefore suggestions for coping with a change in our lives that may affect us emotionally. It may be that the individual or group of individual can do something to raise money for the disaster fund for example which action, in itself, can be a source to raise awareness of particular issues surrounding this topic in a distal manner. Permanent addition of such vocabulary will only serve to expand the system and make it more difficult to use.
While some dynamic systems can cope with extra pages which will not slow down or otherwise impede the use of the main core vocabulary, it is likely that, unless used frequently, such pages will not be maintained and will be forgotten as existing by the User. For example, the architecture of the head stones, the dates and the histories of those who are there.
Of course, they can be reminded as and when necessary and, as long as the page is not too complex and the symbols are clear, it may be that the individual can cope.
However, a visit to a cemetary need not be a specially organised thing, if you happen to be passing one and are not in a particular rush to get somewhere and the weather is fine, cemetaries can be a beautiful place to be. One size does not fit all needs and therefore the boards are provided as a method of stimulating your thinking on this matter rather than as some form of definitive solution.
Can we show the individual how to talk about this topic without having all the 'fringe' vocabulary available? In the preparation for loss, it is recommended that distal items are selected for use as tools with which the individual can gradually begin to understand some of the concepts involved. One idea from the Talksense book of ideas for communication systems (not something that is available for general release!) is the 'Topic Button'. Talksense is unaware of any present system that has such a feature but will report any that it finds in the future. If the individual has profound difficulties and the chosen item is so far removed from their reality that it has no meaning then it may not be a useful choice. We are all sad and we will all miss him but it is good that he has not got to be in pain any more'. The topic button does not go to a specific page but moves to the page which has the fringe vocabulary for the current topic of conversation. However, it is a beginning on which we can build and with which certain topics can be introduced. If the topic is a natural disaster the button moves to the disaster page, if it is a death in the family then the button moves to the symbols for loss page.
As long as the staff member feels comfortable about this and can talk about the loss without too great an emotional reaction then it may be a good beginning. This introduces another important point: early preparation should keep emotions distal too. This activity itself is a part of the healing process and the resulting item will become long time treasured material. If the individual is capable of understanding, tell them how grief can affect the body in some people so that are prepared for any changes if they occur. While we may be talking about how others are feeling and introducing concepts of empathy it should not be our intent to create strong emotional reactions too soon although emotions do play an important role and we should not attempt to hide them. One way of teaching it (there are others but one idea will serve the purpose here), the first time it is used, it allows the User to reach the page by normal routes. The reason for the staff member not having too strong a reaction to talking about the death of a close person is not to protect the individual but rather to assist the staff member in the task. To withstand such continued use,an LSB should never be made cheaply: access for the individual should always be considered and the need for durability built into its creation.
Let them know that it is natural and OK to react in these ways.- Ask the individual to tell you how they are feeling. Once the page is reached, the topic button remembers the pages location and then, when used again, goes directly there using a system of one selection and return to the page from which it came. It would also be useful to have the option to add or remove pages at any point should that become desirable. However, the distal to proximal principle still applies!As we move from distal to proximal over a period of time (which will differ from individual to individual) then we must be aware that emotions will play a greater and greater role.
It would stop going to the loss page after a system shutdown or after a set period of time of non use or on a direct command to 'clear topic' (which could be programmed on a functions page or on each fringe page). A topic board presents particular fringe vocabulary from which a person might select but which is not a permanent part of the individual's communication system although it can be requested at any time.
A topic board for loss would be used in conjunction with the main communication system by both parties to teach concepts in the area and to communicate. Are there untypical reactions to everyday events?- Prepare the individual for the 'strangers' who will be coming to their home in connection with the funeral.
Ensure that such people are also prepared for the individual and that they are told to involve them in all that is happening (they may need guidance on 'how' best to do this) and not to talk 'over' them to the others who are present.- Allow the individual to choose if they wish to attend the funeral.
Following the distal to proximal principle, try to ensure that the individual has had prior experiences of funerals, cremations and burials such that they will know what to expect. Attending the funerals of distant relatives whom the individual did not know is also a good idea. It provides experiences and an opportunity to discuss the issue of death.- Ensure that the individual understands that there will always be someone to whom they can turn for comfort and communication of their feelings. Ensure that no Significant Other supports the individual's denial but informs them in a kind and considerate manner that what they have been told is true and they are prepared to discuss it with them if they want and when they want.
The individual should be involved as much as is practical in selecting the flowers to be purchased and in all other aspects of the funeral process. If they wish to continue a particular response to a loss for a long period then, that too, should be respected. Only if a reaction poses a significant threat to the individual's physical well being should it be addressed. There is no reason these days why a particular friend cannot maintain regular contact even if they move to another country.- Individuals are likely to feel a loss even more at anniversaries and special times such as Christmas when families typically get together.
Staff should be especially sensitive at these times.- Individuals should always be allowed to keep mementoes of people they have lost and to talk about these and the deceased whenever they choose to do so.



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